updated 07:45 pm EDT, Wed May 9, 2012
Oracle wants judge to rule on 'fair use' as a matter of law
[Update: judge denies Oracle motion, reduces Google liability] As expected, Google has petitioned Judge William Alsop for a mistrial following the jury's refusal to rule on a crucial matter in phase one of its trial versus Oracle. Near-simultaneously, Oracle filed its response to suggest that the judge rule on the "fair use" question that the jury couldn't agree on. Neither Google nor Oracle has responded to its counterpart's filing with the court.
Google's motion was relatively simple in its request for a mistrial and new trial based on the jury being unable to come to a complete and unanimous decision in all aspects. Oracle also filed, but with three options for the court. Oracle's first option proposed that if the court agrees, then the judge will decide the issue of "fair use" that the jury failed to decide. A second option suggests that both Google and Oracle waive a jury trial on all remaining issues. The judge would be the final arbiter of the case if Oracle's second option is selected. Option three proposes that Oracle waits until the judge hears the existing judgement as a matter of law that Oracle filed earlier in regards to the fair use motion.
[Updated] Judge Alsop rejected all three options presented by Oracle this evening, saying that "it wouldn't be fair." Alsup hasn't yet ruled on Google's request for a mistrial. Google faces one remaining count of infringement, based on the nine lines of rangeCheck code in TimSort.java duplicated in Android by Joshua Bloch.
The core of Oracle's argument is the repeated re-use of Oracle copyrighted code. Google is claiming a "fair use" defense versus the infringement claims. Oracle originally demanded $2 billion in Java licensing fees for Android, but have been instructed that they would not be awarded that much and to request less. Judge Alsop read documents from Google last week in court that prove that the Android division is losing money.